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Interview with Fay Gibson, Kemble Gallery Assistant and Abstract Landscape Artist

19th June 2022

Fay Gibson works at the Kemble Gallery as a part-time Gallery Assistant alongside her practice as a professional artist. She lives in Durham with her family and a menagerie of sassy pets. 

"It is important to me that I capture some of the feeling of the place through my use of composition, colour and depth and that the paintings are recognisable as abstract landscapes."  



What inspired you to apply to work for the Kemble Gallery?

The Kemble stocks a fab range of oil paints, mediums and papers and it’s virtually on my door step so I’ve been a customer for a while now and I absolutely love the place.

I couldn’t believe it when I looked on the Gallery’s Instagram page and saw that they wanted someone to work part time, flexible hours. How could I not apply? 

I was so excited by the prospect of meeting the Kemble’s exhibiting artists and chatting with creative customers; it was like a dream come true! An artist working in an art gallery?  Yes please!  

I like nothing more than being surrounded by art and art chatter so applying for the job and being taken on were both surreal, very exciting and irresistible.



Who is your favourite Kemble artist?

Ooo, that’s a hard question. 

John Erwin is certainly up there.  His photography is so atmospheric and sensitive that it’s breathtaking.  Hearing him talk about his work is quite something; he has a deep connection with the subjects of his photography and I think that’s what makes them speak to me. 

The atmosphere and texture of Lisa House’s work is also fabulous…. Her use of colour is second to none and I love the variety of subjects she paints. 


Which artists inspire your work?

My favourite artists are a mix of old and new. 

Turner’s use of colour is inspiring and John Martin’s vast apocalyptic scenes leave me speechless. I also love Whistler, the photography of Susan Mann and the textiles of Paddy Killer. I’m forever inspired by their use of light, colour and composition. 


The modern artists I love, (or those that are still alive!) include Abigail Bowman, Deborah Grice, Gillian Lee Smith, Julia Poulton and so, so many more! Again, I’m inspired by their use of light and colour and also the texture that they embed into their work. 



How long have you been an artist?

I’ve always been an artist. 

There isn’t a time in my life when I haven’t been creative.

I have never been intimidated by anything I can work on with my hands; sometimes the results have been a bit disastrous but isn’t that how we learn and develop our skills?

I went down the academic route and studied Textile Design at Art College in the 90s but honestly, it just stripped me of my creativity and left me feeling empty so now I do what I want and I play by my own rules.  

If a couple of days go by and I haven’t done any painting or drawing I feel really strange!  I’d say art is in my blood! 



What is your favourite medium to work with?

Traditional oil paints.  Love ‘em.  The Winsor and Newton range of professional oil paints are second to none.  



What’s the inspiration behind your latest paintings?

The driving force behind my most recent body of work is a fascination with the post-industrial landscape of Northern England where I have always lived.  Land that was once heaving with machinery, men and industry has now been re-wilded and is used for leisure and relaxation. The land fed and sustained our ancestors and now we turn to it for comfort; our industrial needs are no longer met by the local landscape but our physical/mental needs are.

Our local landscape is very atmospheric and has been inhabited for generations.  It is important to me that I capture some of the feeling of the place through my use of composition, colour and depth and that the paintings are recognisable as abstract landscapes.  


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